Janet Foord is excited about the opportunities associated with becoming the president of the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA).
Foord, who is one of two Estevan representatives on the South East Cornerstone School Board, was elected as the national president at the annual general meeting in early July, after spending two years as the CSBA's president.
She will remain on the Cornerstone board during her time as national president.
Foord said there is an opportunity with the CSBA to move forward with businesses and other non-traditional partners, and to support education in a different way than in the past.
"Some of the things we're finding is that the skills kids need going forward – 21st Century learning skills – are different than the skills they needed in the past," said Foord. "So I think there's a huge opportunity there to be able to prepare kids for a more global world that they work in, and will be living in."
Foord has witnessed the opportunities that exist through partnering with business and other entities. The Cornerstone division announced earlier this year that it was working with chambers of commerce and the Southeast Regional College to create and promote smooth transitions with secondary and post-secondary education, and the working world.
"I think there are quite a few boards in the province moving towards that concept," Foord said. "I think they've realized there's a need to keep kids in school and engaged, and prepare them for the future. If you can partner with post-secondary (institutions), and some of the other partners, I think it's a really good opportunity."
The trend is growing nationally, too, she said.
The CSBA also has the opportunity for partnerships with federal and provincial governments, and First Nations groups, she said.
"We have three priorities for the Canadian School Boards Association, and one of them is First Nations/Mets education," said Foord. "(The second is) 21st Century learning skills and the third is health and wellness for kids."
She would like to see people come to the table at the national level who haven't been there before, including governments from the territories and a couple of provinces.
Bringing together concerns from across the country will be both a challenge and an opportunity, she said. The provinces have realized that they have more similarities than differences, and they need to capitalize on their common interests.
Foord's duties as national president will require her to attend three regular meetings and an annual meeting each year. There will also be some conferences that she will attend, such as a symposium on 21st Century skills training in P.E.I. that she attended.